Community Fee: $315 USD for 7 days / 6 nights;
Additional In-Country Travel Expense:
UB to Mandalgovi Bus Fee (one way): $10 USD;
Rural jeep (two way) (approx.): $82 USD;
Note: Jeep cost can be divided by number of persons;
Booking, briefing, handbook, healthy/safety coordination: $25 USD
[ ZONE 2 – Experience Required ]
Mongolia Photography Trip: Horseback Riding the Highlands – Live Like a Local with Nomadic Families in Mongolia
You will explore the wonders of Arkhangai Mountainous River Valleys via this cultural horseback trip across a variety of geographical terrains i.e. mountains, river valleys, lust forests, etc. On this geographically stunning horseback trip, you will explore a variety of natural, historical and cultural wonders along this horse and yak cart route along a Mountain Valley. This “off the beaten path” cultural horseback adventure truly provides a diverse range pastoral and historically important environs. Locals commonly refer to Arkhangai Province as the paradise to the “horse breeders” with its endless emerald pastures surrounded by mountain river valleys. Arkhangai provides nomadic families with the perfect environment to raise Yaks and produce the famous Arhangai cheeses and smooth tasting dried curds. This route is perfect for those travelers that are seeking to combine nomadic culture, geography, a bit of archeological history (sites) while traveling along beautiful mountain landscapes in small groups.
Day One – Travel by bus and rural vehicle to Mr. Erdenebileg nomadic family (D – Overnight in Ger): You will travel overland from Ulaanbaatar City towards Tsetserleg via the public bus at 0800, along the way you will greatly enjoy the many scenic locations from the bus as it drives along vast nomadic pastures, the Ancient Capital City of the Mongol Empire “Karakorum”, etc. Once you arrive in Tsetserleg around at 1500-1600, our local driver will meet you at the rural bus station to which you will be begin your 30 kilometer local drive to the first nomadic family, Mr. Erdenebileg. Once you arrive at the nomadic family, you will be welcomed to a hot nomadic dinner before retire for the evening.
Day Two – Travel by ox cart to Taikhar Rock (B, L, D – Overnight in Ger): After breakfast, you will have time to rest up or experience aspects of nomadic lifestyle before lunch with family members. Afterwards, you will start traveling to Taikhar Rock by ox cart for about 20 kms round trip; Taikhar Rock is 18m high cliff of granite. This granite was formed by separating from the riverbank due to millions of years’ continual flow of Khoid Tamir River through granite cape on its northern bank. Over 150 inscriptions in various scripts including Turkic, Uyghur, Mongolian, Tibetan, Manchu and Chinese were engraved on the cliff, but most of them seem to have barely appeared as time passes. About 70 of them are in Mongolian script and the 15th-17th century’s Mongolian state officials’ name such as Khuukhai Dayu of Oirad, Tsogt Huntaij of Kalkh can be read. According to local legend/myth; there was a wide valley on the way to Zag Baidrag River after climbing over Khangai range. It is believed that a giant snake passed the valley crossing over 3 open canyons of Eg Mountain pass moving along the Khangai range until it reached the site of current Taikhar Chuluu and then fell into a hole under the cliff. After that, a well-known local wrestler knowingly covered the hole with a massive cliff, currently known as Taikhar Chuluu.
Around Taikhar Rock, you can try riding the camp’s yak if you want, it typically costs about 3000-10000 tugrug depends on distance you ride. In the evening you return back to family and have a nomadic dinner before your retire in the family’s extra Ger.
Day Three – Travel by ox cart to next nomad family (B, L, D – Overnight in Ger): After breakfast, you will begin your 18 kilometer ox-cart ride towards the next nomadic family. Upon arrival at the Mr. Batdelger’s nomadic family, you will be served a hot nomadic lunch and traditional tea. Afterwards, you ‘may’ learn how to make dried curds and fermented mare’s milk if they are already producing it – as well as helping out family to putting animals in a pen. In the evening you will have a nomadic dinner with the family before your retire in the family’s extra Ger.
Day Four – Horseback riding to Duut Nuur “Lake Racket” (B, L, D – Overnight in Ger): After breakfast, your host family ‘may’ show you the basics of milking mares, catching horses by rope and training them. After lunch, you will begin your 10-12 kilometers round trip by horse towards the Lake Racket which translates in Mongolian as Duut Nuur. On the way, you will pass by the legendary military general Mr. Demid’s memorial monument where locals show their respects by celebrating Rural Naadam Festival every five years. Duut Nuur is favorite pond for water birds, at least 10 different species of 50-60 birds which are swans, cranes, gooses, shell ducks etc., pass through. In the evening you will have a nomadic dinner with the family before your retire in the family’s extra Ger.
Day Five – Horseback riding to next family and play traditional games with family (B, L, D – Overnight in Ger): After breakfast, you will start a 15 kilometer horseback ride towards the next nomadic family. As soon as you reach the nomadic family of Mr. Nerguibaatar, they will prepare and invite you to a much welcomed nomadic lunch and traditional tea. Afterwards, you will have a rest of day – you can go out swimming in the river or enjoy if the locals are fee, ‘you may’ try learning the traditional game ‘shagai’ with family members or you can help hostess by pulling calves while she is milking cows before you retire for the night.
Day Six – Horseback riding to Tangad Five Trees (B, L, D – Overnight in Ger): After breakfast, you ‘may’ learn the methods of cutting mane and tail of horses with assistant of host. Typically nomads prepare their horses by cutting tail and mane before the special celebration like Rural Naadam Festival. After lunch, you will start a 16 kilometer round trip by horse towards the Tangad Five Trees. According to legend, there were five brother lamas used to meditate and heal locals at temple. But during the revolution in the early 1900s, those brotherhoods were executed and temple was completely destroyed. After the revolution, these five trees were grown at the exact place where lamas used to meditate. Therefore locals show respect to these trees and say their wishes during the visitation. In the evening time, you will return the host family and have a farewell dinner before you retire for the night.
Day Seven – Departure (B): After breakfast, a local driver will arrive to pick you up and you will start the 80-90 kilometer overland trip back to Tsetserleg. Our local driver will help you to get on at 1400pm bus to Ulaanbaatar City or drop you at local guesthouse if you prefer to stay overnight in additional night in Tsetserleg.